Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Liebster Award, Round Two

It's time for a second round of the Liebster Award! I did it awhile ago (you can check out the first post here), but the lovely Catharine tagged me again, as did Audrey Caylin. Of course, I couldn't resist doing it again, especially with the new questions. =) Thank you, Catharine and Audrey! =)
The Rules
Thank the person who nominated you. 
Answer the 11 questions they gave you.
Name 11 facts about yourself.
Nominate 11 bloggers to do this tag, and let them know (I will be breaking this rule xD).
Give them 11 questions to answer.
11 Random Facts About Me
  1. My favorite college basketball team is the UK Wildcats. GO WILDCATS!!! =D 
  2. I go by my middle name. My first name is Rochelle, but since that’s what my mother and grandmother go by, I go by my middle name, Micaiah. 
  3. I am named after an OT prophet who prophesied against Ahab. You can find his story in 1 Kings 22:1-28. 
  4. Lots of people say my name incorrectly. The correct way to say my name is MY-KAY-UH. Hopefully that makes sense. =) 
  5. I can’t stand any scraping noises of any kind. Forks against teeth, swords sliding out of sheaths, nails on a chalkboard… *clamps hand over ears and grimaces*
  6. My favorite superhero is the Flash. 
  7. Although my favorite superhero is the Flash, I usually prefer Marvel over DC. 
  8. I love caramel almost as much as I love chocolate. My family makes fun of me because I want to add caramel to “everything.” Not everything….. Maybe. xD 
  9. I love any and all shades of blue. 
  10. My dream car is a powder blue VW bug. 
  11. I’m terrible at playing soccer and pretty much any sport. Just ask my friends. xD 
Before this goes any further, here's the pretty award. =)
The Questions
What's your favorite season?

My favorite season is probably autumn. I love wearing sweaters, drinking mochas, and seeing all of the pretty fall colors in the not-too-cold-not-too-hot weather. And autumn is such a great season for writing! =)

Have you ever wished that you could go back in time? Why?

Yes, I have. I've always wanted to go to the past and crash a Victorian era ball, get some SUPER vintage books (a typewriter wouldn't hurt either), meet Jane Austen, shake George Washington’s hand… If only I had a WABAC. *sigh*

Why did you start blogging?
I started blogging because I had discovered that I had a gift of writing and I wanted to share that gift with the world. I wanted to help bring people closer to Jesus through the words I wrote and to make a difference by using twenty six letters of the alphabet.

What's your dream vacation?
My dream vacation would be an American road trip. I would take my family and our Airstream and we’d visit every single state, stopping whenever and wherever we wanted to. Visit Washington D.C.? Sure. Hike part of the Appalachian trail? You bet. See a Cubs game in Chicago? Absolutely! And there would be s’mores. Lots and lots of s’mores… What's cool is that I get to live my dream vacation, little by little, as my family travels America! =) 

What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to try but never have?

I've always wanted to try to actually play an instrument. I don't know if I'd be good at it (I'm guessing that the answer is NO), but I could at least be musical in some way, shape, or form. You never know until you try, right? 

Team Cap or Team Iron Man?
Team Cap all the time! No offense, Iron Man, but honestly, I agree with Captain America on so many levels. It helps that he's one of my favorite superheroes, of course. =D

What’s your favorite book of the bible?

My favorite book of the Bible is Luke. It's not only my favorite Gospel, but also my favorite story.

Tea or coffee?

Can I pick neither? How about a mocha? Or a mug of salted caramel hot chocolate? ANYTHING WITH CHOCOLATE AND CARAMEL.

Cats or Dogs?
Dogs. Puppies. Puppy dogs. I LOVE MY PUPPIES. Just LOOK at that face. Yup, dogs. Dogs all the time. =)

What were your favorite novels in middle school?

In middle school, I really loved Alister McGrath's Aedyn Chronicles and Kate Dicamillo's Because of Winn-Dixie. I was also pretty into Gary Paulsen's novels, Chuck Black, and Melanie Dickerson. Especially Melanie Dickerson. =)

What’s someplace you’ve always wanted to visit?

Wow, I've been to so many places that I've dreamed of going that it's hard to pick somewhere. I've always wanted to travel to Mexico though. I'd love to soak up the culture, eat lots of yummy food, and visit my sponsored child. =)

I Tag...
Madeline Joy @ Tower of Joy 
D.G. Snapper @ Silver Phoenix
+ Anyone who agrees that caramel makes everything better! Or anyone who wants to, I suppose. =)

My Questions... 
  1. What are your three favorite fonts? 
  2. Who are some people that inspire you, and in what ways do they do that? 
  3. If you’re a writer, how do you see yourself incorporated (most of the time unknowingly) inside your stories? 
  4. A hooded man tells you he is looking for someone to join him on an adventure. What do you do? 
  5. How long, on average, does it take you to put together a blog post? 
  6. If you could create a word, what would it be, and what would it describe? 
  7. What is one word you are constantly misspelling? 
  8. Quick, the house is on fire! Which three items do you grab before running out the door? 
  9. If you could change your name, what would you change it to? 
  10. What’s your dream pet? 
  11. Cake or ice cream?

Be sure to check out Catharine and Audrey's blogs! What's one random fact about YOU? What's someplace you've always wanted to visit? What was one of your favorite novels as a kid? Let' chat, friends! =)

Friday, February 9, 2018

Unblemished Book Review

I know, it's not the best graphic, but I couldn't find a picture that did justice to the cover
I had heard a LOT about Sara Ella’s Unblemished before reading it. I’d heard so much that I recommended it to my library and impatiently patiently waited for it once they bought it (I was on the holds list FOREVER). And then… IT WAS MINE. For twenty one days only… BUT I STILL GOT IT. And I loved every single page! 
My Rating: Four and a Half Rose Button Necklaces out of Five
Back Cover Blurb (taken from Goodreads)
I just HAD to include the cover again-it's that pretty!
Eliyana has always recoiled from her own reflection in the mirror. But what if that were only one Reflection—one world? What if another world existed where her blemish could become her strength?
Eliyana is used to the shadows. With a hideous birthmark covering half her face, she just hopes to graduate high school unscathed. That is, until Joshua hops a fence and changes her perspective. No one, aside from her mother, has ever treated her as normal. Maybe even beautiful. Because of Joshua, Eliyana finally begins to believe she could be loved. But one night her mother doesn’t come home, and that’s when everything gets weird.
Now Joshua is her new, and rather reluctant, legal Guardian. Add a hooded stalker and a Central Park battle to the mix and you’ve gone from weird to otherworldly.
Eliyana soon finds herself in a world much larger and more complicated than she’s ever known. A world enslaved by a powerful and vile man. And Eliyana holds the answer to defeating him. How can an ordinary girl, a blemished girl, become a savior when she can’t even save herself?
What I Loved
Eliyana. First of all, her name. I LOVE HER NAME. Second of all, Eliyana is just all around a great main character. Period. End of discussion. READ THE BOOK.
The story world (s). I loved all of the different Reflections in Unblemished! Sara Ella did a fantastic job of describing New York City, and I fell in love with the new Reflection Eliyana was drawn into after all of the craziness (yes, it was crazy) happened. I mean… Tromes (aka tree homes)?! I WANT ONE.
KY!!! So I’ve mentioned it already, but Ky is one of my favorite parts of the whole book. At first, I absolutely HATED him. EMPHASIS ON HATE. But now… Now, he might be my favorite character. I love how mysterious/protective/sweet/good-and-bad-at-the-same-time he is. Sara Ella did a great job with her characters!
The plot. I could barely put this book down, it was so good! The plot had me on the edge of my seat from the start. There were so many twists and turns that had me screaming into pillows that had my jaw dropping! 
No, I did NOT see any of that coming! 
The descriptions. I loved how Sara Ella wove in mentions to modern culture and other works such as Narnia, Wicked, etc. in her descriptions. Now, I’m going to be honest, I didn't know everything that she mentioned (and I only know Wicked because it’s BROADWAY). BUT ANYWAYS, even without those nods, the descriptions were fantastic!
The cover. It’s. So. Pretty. I’m seriously going to get this entire series in paperback once the third book comes out because of aaaaallll the pretty covers.
I could go on, but then this review would get REALLY long. xD
What I Didn’t Love
Joshua. I’m just kidding. xD Or am I?
A bit of confusion. At some points in the book I got pretty confused, such as during the action scenes. I’ve seen some other people mention this too, so I guess I’m not the only one who felt this way.
Some info-dumps. I felt that some parts of the book had too much information at once. I think part of this is what made everything confusing at times.
Despite some confusing parts and info-dumping, Sara Ella’s Unblemished is definitely a book I’d recommend to all of my readers, especially those who love a good fairy tale. =)
About the Author
Once upon a time, SARA ELLA dreamed she would marry a prince (just call her Mrs. Charming) and live in a castle (aka The Plaza Hotel). Though her fairy tale didn’t quite turn out as planned, she did work for Disney—that was an enchanted moment of its own. Now she spends her days throwing living room dance parties for her two princesses and conquering realms of her own imaginings. She believes “Happily Ever After is Never Far Away” for those who put their faith in the King of kings.
 Have you read Unblemished? If so, what is one of your favorite parts of the book? Team Ky or team Joshua? What's one of your favorite quotes from Unblemished? Don't you love the cover?! =D What's your favorite fairy tale? 

Friday, February 2, 2018

January Cocoa Break

Yes, I know, January was a couple days ago. But bear with me, y'all!
It’s time for my very first monthly highlights post of 2018! And guess what? Instead of my “just happened” posts, I’m now hosting a monthly cocoa break (what's that, you say? Well, read on!). If you’ve been around here for a while, you know that I LOVE cocoa. Especially with salt. And caramel. Whipped cream is good too, by the way.

What I love about a mug of cocoa, besides how it tastes and how the warmth seeps out of the mug, is that it draws people together. Ever since I was little, I’ve been coming together with people over warm mugs of cocoa, talking, fellowshipping, and just sharing in life. There’s something magical about a group of people and a bunch of mugs full of something sweet, isn’t there?

To tell y’all the truth, I wish that we could all get together with some salted caramel hot chocolate (mochas work too, I guess) and just chat about this wonderful life God has given us—the good, the bad, the messy, and everything in between. So from now on, each month, my monthly highlights post is going to be called a cocoa break. It’ll simply be a time where you can read a little bit about me, my writing, and the novels I’ve read, plus tell me all about YOU in the comments. Cocoa is completely allowed, by the way. =) I know I’ll have a mug or two!

Enough of my ramblings, let’s grab some cocoa!
No, this wasn't me. But it's Olaf. And a birthday cake. How could I NOT use this gif?!
First of all, my two little sisters each became a year older! *insert confetti and cupcakes here* Maya turned eleven and Maddy turned nine. We celebrated with lots of cake and ice cream (and as you all know, I was super into that). I’m so proud of the young ladies they’re growing into, and I love seeing them fall in love with Jesus every day. Happy (late) birthday, Maya and Maddy! =D
Excuse the photography, please, I just wanted to eat it. =)
I found this recipe for vanilla cupcakes for two, and now it is way too easy for me to eat cupcakes. xD I added some chocolate frosting and sprinkles, because if you’re going to eat a cupcake, you’re going to eat it right. But don't think that I just eat cake (if only...)! This year I've been exercising and eating more healthily. Then I eat cake. xD Oh, and it’s 2018. I actually remember that it’s a new year this time around! Well, most of the time, that is.

I also had my blogoversary, which was so much fun. Thanks again, everyone, for helping me celebrate one year of Notebooks and Novels! =) You all are so sweet and just THE BEST!
Of Notebooks…
I entered the One Teen Story short story contest! Ignoring the fact that I was super last minute/stayed up past midnight two nights in a row to get my story done/went through about for different story ideas/sent the final one the day it due, it was fun getting to know my short story characters and play with different plots. And I’m so glad that I finally entered! The results don’t come in for a while, so until then, I’ll be working on my "novel project."
They have such pretty mock covers...
Remember Second Star to the Right? The story I did a whole post on and was so excited about? How about Hiraeth, the story I worked on for Camp Nano way back when? Confession time: I haven’t worked on them in forever, and I haven’t had the motivation to do so. Right now, I’m focusing on finding the story of my heart, a story that I would want to read, a story that is near and dear to me that I can see to completion. I’m not totally abandoning these other stories. I’m setting them aside and working to find the story. The story that a whole lot of work and editing will go into, the story that my heart and my Lord wants me to write, the story that I would like to have published one day… THE STORY.

So right now… I’m brainstorming. I’m praying. I’m exploring. And I’m searching for the story.
Of Novels…
And… This is all I read in January. One. Book. *crawls under a rock and sobs* BUT IT WAS SUCH A GOOD BOOK. And now, here I sit, waiting for the sequel, drooling over its cover, because I am the unlucky human being who is still on the waiting list for it at the library. Don’t worry, there will be a book review for Unblemished coming your way soon! And for the record… TEAM KYAPHUS RHYEN ALL THE WAY.

What do you think of the new monthly highlights post name? What would YOU like to see more of in these posts? Less of? What do you like the most about these type of posts? Tell me EVERYTHING, so I know how to grow/change. How was your January? DID YOU EAT CAKE? Have you read Unblemished? If so, Team Joshua or Team Ky? Where are you in your writing journey right now? Let's grab some cocoa and chat, everyone!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Blogoversary Wrap-Up

All good celebrations have to have an ending, just like good books and chocolate cupcakes. But all good books and celebrations have happy endings too, right? Luckily, we have a happy ending for our blogoversary, because we have some WINNERS!!!! First things first, the winner of the writing contest. It was really hard to pick between the entries, but there can only be one winner, right?

Without further ado, the winner of the writing contest is.... Hailey Hudson! Congratulations, Hailey! =) You should receive an email today about your bookmark prize. Here's her winning entry, titled "When You Left":
It was snowing when you left. You were making a joke about Frosty the snowman, flipping up the hood of your red parka that I’d borrowed so many times without you knowing, double-checking to make sure that your luggage was in place. You were walking towards the door like you weren’t going to turn back—like you weren’t going to even tell me goodbye.

I wanted so many things in that moment, standing there hugging my arms to my chest and feeling the cool hardwood floor through my socks. I wanted to tell you that I remembered that time we went exploring the city after nightfall, how we laughed over chai lattes in our favorite hole-in-the-wall coffee shop and snuck into our favorite ice skating rink without paying and then found our way to a friend’s high-rise apartment and stood so close that the frosty clouds of our breath mingled into one as we watched the city light up. I wanted to remind you about that time we were sitting in my kitchen early one Saturday morning; I wanted you to remember how you added peanut butter to the pancake batter without even asking me because you knew that was my favorite, and I wanted you to remember how you made jokes about us being an old married couple one day, and I wanted to tell you that the sunlight slanting through the window had hit your face in just the right way as you turned back to the stove and all I wanted was to kiss you right then and there. 

But instead you were walking out. You were leaving, and you weren’t giving me a second thought. You meant so much to me—but I finally realized I meant nothing to you. 

I wanted so desperately to tell you so many things. But I couldn’t. All I could do was stand there in the front hallway, well after the door had shut behind you, hugging myself and thinking—this was never part of the plan. 

It was snowing when you left.
Wasn't that gorgeous? =)

But there's still another winner to pick, isn't there? Drumroll, please. The winner of the wooden bookmark giveaway is.... Amelia! Congratulations, Amelia! You should receive an email today about your bookmark prize. =)

I just want to give a HUGE thank you to all of my readers! You guys are the BEST and you all have made this past year of blogging (and this blogoversary) absolutely wonderful! *throws confetti* What was your favorite blogoversary post? Didn't you love Hailey's entry? 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Four Things I Wish I Knew When I Was A New Blogger

All of these blogoversary celebrations (enter the bookmark giveaway and writing contest here, and take part in a fun quiz here) can't help but bring back memories of my old blogs, Ramblings of a Writer and A Little Bit of Everything. I can't believe how far I've come! But looking back, I wish that, as a new blogger, I knew more about blogging. Here are four things I wish I knew as a new blogger:
You Don't Have To Post Something All. The. Time.

When I first started blogging, I thought it was requirement set in stone to publish something, anything once every couple days. The more posts, the better, right? 
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with posting super often, for me as a new blogger, it wasn't a good habit to have. Instead of focusing on the quality of my blog's content I was focusing on quantity. When I first started out as a blogger, I wish that someone had told me that I needn't need to post all the time. Then, I think that I might have grown in the quality of the content I was putting out sooner. 
You CAN Do It.
When I first started out, blogging was a little intimidating. There was so much to figure out! Schedules, design, posts, pages... At times, I wondered if I would ever get the hang of it! How am I going to make my blog look the way I want it to without spending tons of money? How am I going to come up with something worth reading? How am I even going to find readers if I only know three other bloggers?

But now that I've been blogging for awhile, I've learned that I CAN do this thing. When I first started blogging, I wish that I was more confident that I could totally rock the whole blogging thing. If you're a new blogger, remember: YOU CAN DO THIS.
It Isn't Easy, But It's Worth It.
Me, trying to come up with a new blog post. xD
But blogging isn't easy.  No, blogging is hard. It’s hard coming up with new ideas. It’s hard disciplining yourself to write posts. It’s hard figuring out design. But it is so worth EVERYTHING. I absolutely love blogging, and the blogging friends I’ve made are the best!
Blog About What You Love. 
My number one tip for new bloggers: Blog about what you love and keep being you. Try not to get caught up in what other bloggers are doing and keep your voice your own. That’s what will truly make your blog stand out. I wish that someone had reminded me of this when I was a newbie blogger!

So there you have it, everyone! Four things I wish I knew as a new blogger. How about you? If you've been blogging for a while, what are some things you wish you knew when you first started? If you're a new blogger, what are your thoughts on blogging so far? For all bloggers, what is the hardest part about blogging? The best part? Let's get together in the comments and chat, y'all! =D 

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